Your home’s electric service panel is a large metal box with switches. You can find it in a closet or on an outside wall. It’s important to understand how it works so that you can identify problems. If your home’s service is less than 100 amps, you need to upgrade it. A qualified electrician can help you with this. Wire Ducts The electrical panel (also called a load center, breaker box, main distribution panel or switchboard) is the main control unit for distributing electricity throughout your home or building. It contains circuit breakers or fuses that can be switched off or on to supply power to different outlets and lights. Electrical panels are generally located in a metal enclosure that is usually able to withstand impact, vibration, heat, dust and corrosive chemicals. They also typically have features to support and organize wires and cables, such as wiring ducts. Wiring ducts are rigid cable trays that provide a raceway for enclosed wires. They can be found in many types of electrical enclosures and come in a range of sizes. Some have slots or fingers for easy breaking and customization. Din Rail DIN rails are standardized mounting platforms that can easily accommodate a wide range of components. Designed with efficiency in mind, they offer an organized way to install equipment within electrical enclosures. They also allow for an easy wiring pattern that makes it easier to maintain and replace parts. There are several different types of DIN rails, but the most popular is 35 mm wide “top-hat” DIN rail. The hat-like cross section gives it its name and the rail is usually made from either copper, aluminum or steel with a zinc finish. The rails can be used with terminal blocks to connect and protect wires and relays. The terminal blocks come in various styles, from screw to spring-loaded clamps. Plug-in and ring terminals are other common options for connecting equipment to the DIN rail. Push Buttons Push buttons, also known as push switches, enable electricity to flow through them when pressed and break the circuit when released. You can find them integrated within a variety of domestic and workplace devices, including calculators and keyboard keys. They are available in both momentary and maintained action, and may feature a flat or customised button shape designed to ergonomic specifications. You can also find illuminated push buttons that use LED indicators to display the status of their current connection, which can be especially helpful for workers in dimly lit environments. Unlike your home’s breaker box, which contains only individual utilization equipment, an industrial electrical panel can contain a whole range of different devices that operate in tandem. This can increase efficiency and allow for better control over production processes. Pilot Lights While many newer homes and heating and cooling systems do away with pilot lights, older ones still use them. A pilot light is a flame that keeps gas flowing to a furnace and keeps the burner lit. If the pilot light flame blows out, it can cause dangerous gas to escape into your home and collect until it ignites and causes an explosion. Pilot lights come with a safety valve that cuts off the flow of gas to prevent this from happening. Pilot lights aren’t needed for most of the time that they’re lit, which wastes a significant amount of gas. The pilot light shaft might be dirty and require cleaning. The thermocouple could be malfunctioning, preventing the gas valve from turning on. A trained HVAC professional can check these components for you. Circuit Breakers The most well-known component of your electrical panel is your main breaker box. It contains a series of lever-operated breakers that protect your home from electrical overloads. If too much power flows through one circuit, the breaker will ‘trip,’ shutting off electricity to the connected appliances and preventing fires or injuries. Each breaker is rated for different amperage loads, with 15-amp breakers typically controlling lighting and standard outlets while 20-amp breakers handle higher-use devices like dishwashers and laundry washers. If a breaker is overloaded, you’ll notice a burning smell or see evidence of scorched wires. If you have a main breaker panel that doesn’t have enough spaces to accommodate your appliances, an electrician can add new breakers and upgrade the capacity of your home. This is a quick and inexpensive way to make your home more energy-efficient.